PG for a little curse word.
The leaves of the plant in the corner of the living room of Yunho and Changmin's shared apartment rustle. A breeze blows in through the slightly open window, causing the curtains to shiver and the flowers on the coffee table to sway.
Changmin sits, reading a book, leaning against a napping Yunho.
Today was perfect. They had gone for breakfast at a lovely little delicatessen, had sipped coffee and chatted. For lunch they went to a Thai restaurant and challenged each other to eat the spiciest dishes on the menu. Changmin had won. He spent hours in the bathroom at home after that, though.
It is 2.24 p.m., Changmin notes as he lifts his head to look at the clock that hangs on the wall above the television. What would they be having for tea?
'Muffins. Muffins would be nice.' Yunho had spoken.
Changmin looks at Yunho and watches his eyelids flutter. 'I thought you were napping?'
'I was. Your hair was tickling me so.'
'Should I get a haircut?' Changmin is not a person who likes to say sorry.
Yunho knows, and he knows that Changmin's little question is an indirect way of saying sorry. 'No, I quite like being tickled by your hair.'
'I don't like your hair.' Changmin looks away and sticks his lower lip out a little, hating that Yunho makes him feel all prickly and awkward all over from just a meaningless, stupid statement.
'I'm sorry you don't.'
'You should be.'
Changmin stands and stretches, then carefully places his book on the coffee table and scrutinises the glassy surface for minute specks of dust. 'Yunho, get up. I'm hungry.'
'No. I'm hungry.'
Defeated, Yunho gets up.
They have muffins for teatime, as per Yunho's suggestion. They sip tea and hold hands over their white little table on the verandah. They watch the birds in the sky and the people on the streets below.
Changmin makes Yunho laugh with his snarky little remarks regarding the people in the streets. Yunho makes Changmin smile with his sappy little statements.
As Yunho puts down his empty cup of tea, Changmin stands up. Yunho looks up, ready to ask if something is wrong when Changmin leans over and kisses him on the cheek.
Changmin sits back down and laughs at Yunho's pink cheeks and wide eyes.
Yunho smiles, showing his teeth and looks at Changmin. 'It's Christmas, right?', he asks.
'Is it my birthday?'
'No, silly. Can't I just kiss you for no reason?'
'But you've never kissed me for no reason.'
Changmin sighs as though his hyung is an idiot, which in a way, he kind of is. 'Well, I just did. Now shut up or I'll never kiss you again.'
'Even for a reason?'
'Never. Now shush.' Changmin opens his mouth and Yunho feeds him more chunks of muffin.
'It's the 15th today, Changmin.'
'I hate the 15th.'
Yunho goes over to where Changmin is standing and glaring out of the window. 'I know, I know.'
'I don't want to go, hyung.'
'It's for your own good.'
'How is it good for me? Everytime I go, they tell me how much longer I have before I... I... die. Why do I want to know that?'
'Why do you believe them?'
'Because... Because they know better.' Changmin clenches and unclenches his right fist in disappointment.
'They know what they're doing, Changmin. I don't like how you cry after they tell you how much time is left either, but at least I know how important it is to spend more time with you before... before you... go. Each passing day, the time I need to spend with you gets more and more urgent. It's not just you... I feel as though... I'll lose myself one day.' Yunho chokes down a sob, but he is too late to wipe away the tear that runs down his cheek because Changmin is already wiping it with his thumb.
'Shh, you sentimental man. Nothing can truly take me away from you. I don't want to leave you. Never ever. But-'
Changmin is cut off as Yunho pulls him close and kisses him softly. When Changmin pulls away, he too, is crying.
The minute they reach their apartment and Yunho unlocks the door, Changmin runs inside and flings himself on the couch. He buries his face in the cushions that smell of Yunho's cologne.
He feels the seat sink as Yunho sits down and his arms snake around Changmin. 'Changmin...'
'Nine days. Nine more days.' Changmin does not want to look at Yunho.
'Changmin, look at me.'
'They said nine days.'
Changmin jerks up and looks at Yunho, his eyes wild with anger and bitter disappointment. He hates himself. Why is he so weak? 'Nine more fucking days!', he screams at Yunho and then he is crying into Yunho's shoulder.
Yunho pats him and rubs circles into Changmin's back, trying to soothe him, but even then he wonders, who will be the one hurting in the end?
Changmin's shoulders are shaking and Yunho's shirt is warm and wet with Changmin's tears.
'... Sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry,' Changmin whispers into Yunho's neck on between sobs.
'You don't have anything to be sorry for,' Yunho whispers back, fighting down his urge to burst into tears.
Changmin looks at the calendar that is stuck onto the fridge and crosses out today's date. Eight more days to go, he notes to himself. He will not feel sad or pity himself anymore because he has to make the most out of the eight days he has left with Yunho.
Yunho is eating his cereal quietly, looking down into his bowl.
Changmin goes over to him and hugs Yunho. Yunho leans back into his hug and feels like crying.
'Let's not feel sad or sorry anymore, Yunho. Let's make the most out of it. I don't want to die with regrets.'
'... Don't leave, Changmin,' and Changmin's heart breaks at how broken Yunho sounds.
'I won't leave you. I'll stay for as long as I can, promise.'
The next three days are spent with hugs and kisses. Changmin sleeps in Yunho's embrace at night. He naps in Yunho's arms in the afternoon. Yunho feeds him and smiles a lot.
'Five days,' Changmin whispers to himself as he crosses out a date on the calendar.
Yunho appears behind him and gently takes the marker out of Changmin's grip, throwing it into the bin. Yunho then pulls the calendar off and rips it in half before dumping it into the trash as well. 'Don't let's count down the days we have left together. I want to stop time.'
The next day, Changmin wakes up to see that all the clocks in the house are gone and that the television's plug is missing. Their wristwatches have all stopped as well. Their cellphones are all showing that it is night-time, despite it actually being morning.
He shakes his head and smiles to himself. Yunho really did try to stop time. He walks over to the fridge and looks for the marker before noticing that both calendar and marker are absent. He remembers yesterday. 'Don't let's count the days you have left with Yunho, Changmin,' he chides himself softly.
Yunho comes out from the bedroom with his hair still slightly damp from the shower. Changmin looks at him.
'Anything wrong?' Yunho stops in his tracks and looks back at Changmin with wide eyes.
'No. Nothing with you can ever be wrong.'
On the 22nd, Changmin wakes up feeling cold. Yunho is not there. He gets up, pushing the covers off him and walks into the kitchen.
Yunho is nowhere to be seen. Changmin panics a little before seeing a little Post-it on the kitchen counter. 'Good morning, Changmin. I've gone out for a while to buy some groceries. Don't worry. I'll be back soon,' Changmin reads.
'Hurry home. We only have two days left,' he whispers as he sits on the couch and puts his head in his hands.
On the 24th, Yunho wakes Changmin up with breakfast in bed. Changmin sits up groggily, pleasantly surprised. Yunho feeds him slowly, and they cuddle for hours afterwards.
That night, Yunho kisses Changmin deeply before stroking his hair, which has grown longer over the past week, gently.
'Have a good sleep, Changmin, and don't worry. I won't forget to wake you up to water the plants.'
Changmin stays quiet. He knows that this is Yunho's promise that he will still live past tonight. Instead, he holds Yunho's hand tighly and falls asleep.
'Changmin, wake up. The plants are thirsty.'
Changmin wakes up and sits there in a daze for nearly a minute before he realises that he is still alive. He's alive !
He jumps out of bed and into Yunho's arms, sobbing but laughing happily.
Yunho leans his head on Changmin's shoulder. 'I promised I'd wake you up. You don't always have to believe them. Silly.'
And for once, Changmin does not get angry at Yunho for calling him that.
Changmin drowns the plants in his love and water. He kisses every leaf and sings out loud. He sings to the world as he leans over the railing of the verandah, belting out notes to show how happy he is. He sings of hopes and dreams, love and Yunho.
He smothers Yunho with kisses and doesn't feel uncomfortable for being overtly affectionate. He suffocates Yunho with his hugs until Yunho wails for him to be more gentle on his ribs.
Changmin is just very happy.
A few days later, Yunho wakes up to find Changmin pale and weak. He worries over Changmin, before hurriedly bundling him up in layers of blankets and taking him to the hospital.
Yunho's head jerks up from the edge of the hospital bed as Changmin calls for him in a raspy voice. 'Changmin, Changmin, Changmin,' Yunho says his name like a mantra, over and over again.
'I'm here. Yunho hyung's here.'
'I think... I have to leave now...'
Yunho knows that he is crying like a baby now, but he doesn't care as he leans over Changmin, stroking his cheek and watching his tears drip onto Changmin's face. 'Leave what, Changmin? Leave me? The hospital? Where, where?' He tries not to sound hysterical so as not to scare Changmin, but it's just to difficult.
'I'm sorry... I didn't... keep my promise. I'm weak, hyung. Sorry. So sorry.' He looks at Yunho and Yunho can see the grief in Changmin's eyes.
'Changmin! Changmin, no...' Yunho knows that nothing can stop Changmin from slipping away from him now.
'But before I forget... I love you... so much...' And he heaves his last breath as Yunho kisses him.
Yunho pulls away as he looks at the serene face of Changmin, his Changmin, who had just left for heaven. 'I love you too, forever and a day,' he chokes out, 'Goodbye...'
Yunho stays in bed and cries for days on end. He cannot stop thinking about Changmin, his mismatched eyes and wide smile and his rough, barking laughter. He just wants... wants to take back all of that from God.
The apartment feels so empty and quiet with Changmin missing. Yunho would never again be able to do anything without thinking of him. When Yunho sips tea on the verandah, he thinks of Changmin and his witty little comments.
When he tries to nap on the couch, he remembers Changmin's hair tickling his chin. He often looks at the book that Changmin used to love reading as Yunho napped.
Life goes on for Yunho, but he never stops thinking about his love that is lost.
Yunho dreams one night. In his dream, Changmin is laughing and his eyes are mismatched again. His teeth are glinting in the sunlight.
'You know I love you right?' Changmin says with a wide smile, and Yunho nods, his eyes watching Changmin all the while, because Changmin looks angelic with his brown wavy hair and white shirt under the sunlight.
'Aren't you going to say you love me too?' Changmin says with a little moue.
'I love you, too.'
Changmin gives him a lopsided smile and looks into the far-off distance. Just then, Yunho takes a picture of him.
As the camera clicks and snaps the picture to keep for eternity, Yunho wakes up. He looks at the bedside table and sees the picture he snapped in his dream framed and sitting daintily on the table.
It wasn't just a dream. It was a memory. Yunho bursts into tears.
'I miss you, Changmin, I miss you so damn much...'